Baking Soda: Remove Pesticides from Produce

by Lisa Breitenwischer

May 11, 2023

Baking Soda: Remove Pesticides from Produce

A study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, found that a 15 minute soak in water and baking soda is the most effective way to remove pesticide residue on produce. This comes at a good time, as prices for organic fruit & vegetables have rose 13.1% over the past year. For households struggling with the nations worst bout of inflation, such spikes could force many consumers to opt for nonorganic options instead.

If  you’re worried about pesticides on fresh produce, don’t be. The Us Food & Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture and other scientists agree that a cold water soak with baking soda will effectively help remove dirt, chemical residue, & other unwanted materials from your fresh vegetables and fruits.


I experimented with two different tested methods of soaking that were effective at removing pesticides.  I started with the  Arm & Hammer method using potatoes and bell peppers which are on the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables most likely to have pesticide residue, even after washing. Following the guidelines, I submerged potatoes in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda, per 1 quart of water for 15 minutes, and swished potatoes around in water several times to ensure all sides of produce were being cleaned.

While I waited, I tried another cleaning method from Americas Test Kitchen. This time I added bell peppers to a different bowl with the same solution: 2 tsp of baking soda, per 1 quart of water, submerging and swirling them around in the solution, for just 30 seconds.

After each treatment I removed produce from water, rinsed, and let dry thoroughly before prepping or eating.

One thing to note: The baking soda solution may not be a silver bullet for removing all pesticides, but it still removes common types of pesticides, and I’ll be using it.

Bottom Line

If you can afford it and prefer organic produce, go for it, but if not don’t avoid eating fruits and vegetables, just use the baking soda trick. After all, science has shown eating more fresh fruit and veggies is a healthy choice and lowers all-cause mortality! 

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